The patellar tendon connects the kneecap to the lower leg bone. Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon. It can cause pain, swelling, and limited movement. The injury can include:
Treatment depends on the severity of the injury.
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Tendinopathy is generally caused by overuse of a muscle-tendon unit. Over time, the strain on the tendon causes structural changes within the tendon.
Patellar tendinopathy occurs from overuse of the patellar tendon. Overuse may be caused by any activity that requires:
Factors that increase your chance of developing patellar tendonopathy include:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment will depend on the severity of the injury. Options include:
To reduce pain and swelling:
To help manage pain, your doctor may recommend:
This strap, also called a counterforce brace, can help support the tendon and reduce pain. It is worn as a band just below the knee.
Physical therapy will help:
If the treatments above do not reduce inflammation, your doctor may recommend that you consider a cortisone injection. Try to avoid repeated cortisone injections.
You may need surgery if you have advanced damage to the tendon. Your doctor may also recommend surgery if you have not responded to other treatment methods over a period of several months.
To reduce your chances of getting patellar tendinopathy, take these steps:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
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Last reviewed April 2013 by Michael Woods, MD; Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 3/18/2013